Fiesta, San Antonio, TX

Let’s take another journey into the past.

Part of the reason I decided to visit San Antonio in April was because of Fiesta.

It’s an annual ten day event celebrating all things puro San Antonio through parades, parties, pin badges, bright colours and of course, food.

San Antonio is party city already, but it really comes to life during Fiesta. I couldn’t possibly do the history of Fiesta justice, so to find out more about it have a look on their website: Fiesta!

What I can do is share a little of my experience of the celebration. Let’s go!

IMG_4327

Fiesta Fun!

Advertisements

Wurstfest Craft Beer Festival, New Braunfels, TX

Okay, here we go. Months later and I’m just finding some time to go through some photos and get motivated to sit and do a little writing. My head has been busy.

Seeing as my trip back home was in April and we’ve now reached mid-July all the details are a little fuzzy, but I still have things I want to share… and one of those things was my time at the 3rd annual Wurstfest Craft Beer Festival.

IMG_3254

A day outside drinking Texas craft beer, munching a few snacks and listening to music… why not. Here’s how I got on.

IMG_3296

 

Proust!

Chicago Gourmet

The past month has been a bit of a whirlwind.

An absolutely amazing whirlwind of carbohydrates and beer which explains my five pound weight gain, but completely worth it. With all the early mornings, time changes, and lack of vegetables I’m just now getting around to something of a normal schedule.

My photos are all a mess, so it’s going to take some time to get everything sorted, but I have so much fun to share of my tales over stateside.

I wanted to start off with one of my favorite moments – Chicago Gourmet.

img_7679
The event took place exactly four weeks ago, on the weekend of September 24th and 25th. We just so happened to be in town for the event and it could not have been a better coincidence. Essentially it’s a big ‘foodie weekend’ with a few special events, celebrity/local chef demos but the main part of the festival is just roaming around Millennium Park picking up endless fancy snacks and samples of various types of alcohol.

How adorable are these blue velvet donuts?

This is the 9th year for the event, which is presented by Bon Appétit magazine and had a good mix of local Chicago restaurants/chefs and nationally recognised brands – mainly in terms of alcohol.


You buy one pricey ticket (about $200 bucks) and then once the gate opens you get a little goodie bag that contains flyers, a ceramic Chicago Bears coaster, an energy bar and a little plastic tray. Then you pick up your Chicago Gourmet branded wine glass and that’s you free to let loose for five or six hours.

Genuinely you can grab as much food or drink as you want – no need for tokens/coupons or purchasing anything additional inside. It’s great.

There was so much to eat and drink and this being our first time here, not really knowing much about the event we just aimlessly walked around stuffing our faces. img_7683

Snacks Ahoy!

Away we go…

Hello Everyone.

I’m currently typing to you from a giant soft bed in Chicago. I’ve already eaten far too much today, but I still haven’t had this deep dish pizza. It has only been a day and a half, but that is half of our time here… and if I am being honest, the main inventive for paying a visit.

Och, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Like I planned to have my Cinnamon Chocolate Babka recipe up before the trip and I planned to get this deep dish pizza essentially upon arrival on Saturday night… But ended up lying down for a ‘nap’ after a 12 hour flight then waking up at midnight. Hm.

So, basically. I’m on holiday… for three whole weeks. Count them three.

This consists of a few days in Chicago and then to Texas for a catch up with family and tacos. Obviously.

I’m really excited to share all of my food adventures with you. I’ve already been making a few posts via Instagram and Twitter – though it is only the beginning. Social media will be a bit easier to update during this time, so please make sure you keep up! You know I take a while, but we get there in the end.

It’s my first time in Chicago and so far it’s been excellent. There will be plenty of updates to make, along with blog posts ahead.

And I’ll just say today’s food adventure was epic:

Donuts.
Chicago Gourmet.
Tacos.

Such full bellies. Also, we’re already sunburnt. It’s essentially only been one day as we arrived at sunset on Saturday. One day. Such pale bodies.

Anyway, I am full of enthusiasm and various cuts of pork and beef.

Oft to bed… tomorrow I need to make sure pizza happens.

Mon the snacking!

xx

Mook Pancakes, Amsterdam

Mmm pancakes… so often you are on my mind. 

I just seem to have a craving for them lately which has me thinking about the last time I ate them…at Mook in Amsterdam.

DSC_2401

Mook is a very much on the hip side. Plywood wood walls and Ikea greenery create the look and very relaxed atmosphere. It has some nice big windows letting a good amount of light in for you to enjoy your fresh food. 

DSC_2395DSC_2394

They offer a small menu, less than ten choices of sweet and savory pancakes. Apologies for not getting a photo – too much excitement to be on holiday. Anyway, I am definitely a sweet pancake type of person, so I surprised myself a little bit by making a savory choice. 

What influenced me was the insanely delicious fresh pineapple juice. It was actually one of my favorite consumables from the weekend away. It was very sweet, I must have got a ripe one as there was not a lot of acid in the pineapple. A beautiful color and really satisfying to drink on a hot sunny morning.

DSC_2389

The juice had so much natural sugar I thought more fruit and syrup might be a bit over an overload. So, salmon and creme fresh it was. Mr.Snacks ordered the hummus and roasted veg pancakes.

While we did enjoy our pancakes I can’t help but feel we made the wrong decision. The salmon was lovely and fresh and there was a seriously giant helping of it, but overall it felt a little on the dry side. It might have been in my mind, but it also felt strange eating salmon with thick fluffy pancakes.

IMG_1780

Now the pancakes were definitely neutral. Mook uses spelt or oat flour for their pancakes and I didn’t get any hints of sugar. Same for the hummus pancakes. Nice smooth homemade hummus, but with pancakes it didn’t quite match up.

And even as I type this now I’m thinking, yeah… why would that match up? So, I take full responsibility for these poor decisions. 

I would definitely pay Mook another visit because DAMN that pineapple juice… but also because of the overwhelming amount of regret I have. I should have been one of the many to order chocolate covered pancakes with berries overflowing. Seriously craving this now.

Note, it’s not the cheapest place for breakfast, but it’s not terribly unreasonable either. You are getting a rather large portion. 

Unit next time.

xx

Mook

De Clercqstraat 34,
1052 NG AMSTERDAM

Maître Choux, London

Before going on holiday, I do my research.

Usually, I’ll get a coffee, a slice of cake and browse the travel books of Waterstones like it’s my own little library. Writing a list of restaurants and bars in my travel notebook or if I’m feeling modern taking note on my phone. 

I’ll then look at reviews online and thanks to Instagram I can now look at everyone else’s food photos. Or just search whatever city I’m going to visit with ‘food’ after it and thousands of amazing photos will pop up. Easy peasy.

Before visiting London, Maître Choux is one of the first places that I pinpointed as wanting to visit. Strange, as I’m not big on eclairs… but I absolutely adore profiteroles. (Yeah, I don’t know why either).

front

As shown here and on countless other Instagram accounts, the eclairs at Maître Choux are stunning. The colors pop and each flavor of eclair is identically and delicately decorated. It’s a standard of patisserie that isn’t common or local here in Glasgow and as soon as I found out they had a pistachio flavor that was me sold.

So, we went for breakfast (I did say I have a sweet tooth) on our last day in London. This location in South Kensington was a bit out of the way from us, so we decided to dedicate our last morning to it and I cannot say I regret it or the amount of calories I consumed.

I feel like we were the definitely some of the first customers of the day. While we were browsing and quietly debating what to get, the staff was friendly and offered us one of their chouquettes each. This is basically just plain choux pastry with pearl sugar on top, but it was insanely delicious. I was expecting it to be really tough, especially with no filling to moisten the pastry, but it was incredibly light and had a very slight crisp to it. I could essentially eat them like a bag of crisps.

So, it was really tough to choose between everything, but I was already keen on the pistachio before arrival. We decided to split three whole eclairs between us- Pistachio, Raspberry with a Macaron top, and Coffee. As we were sitting in, we also ordered two cappuccinos. 

Image-2

I wouldn’t say the coffee was anything special, just normal. I get the impression this isn’t really a place to ‘sit in’ – it’s a very small narrow shop with two little tables crammed at the back. We both had carry on suitcases with us which added extra awkwardness. If you can, I’d suggest taking them away.

But, as we were sitting in the staff provided us with two additional chouquettes on our slab of pastry. Which of course we ate. No regrets.

In terms of the eclairs, I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews between amazing and overrated. The word overpriced was thrown in a lot. To me, I didn’t have too much of an issue with the price, because the appearance is part of what makes these eclairs so photogenic. Obviously you want them to taste amazing as well, but there is a lot that goes into the decor and the preparation so to me, 5-6 pounds while I’m on holiday… that’s fine. You’re definitely not going to eat these every day.

IMG_2351

So, out of what we had the chouquettes and the raspberry eclair were the best. The raspberry eclair and a nice light texture because of the macaron top, but also had the strongest flavor because of the fresh raspberry puree. The vanilla creme was really smooth – it all worked well. This one is special. 

The pistachio was the next favorite, but the flavors were a lot more subtle. I wouldn’t say this one was mind blowing, but delicious all the same. Lots of creamy filling, but it just needs a little more pistachio flavor. 

IMG_9538

The coffee eclair, sadly was my least favorite and in fact wasn’t too impressive flavor wise. Again, the coffee taste was weak and I’m definitely a triple shot kind of girl. The inside was a creme pat/whipped cream mix and I think there just too much dairy weakening the coffee taste. 

IMG_2350

That being said, it still gets top marks from me. On all the eclairs the choux pastry was sturdy, but not crunchy or too tough. These little lovelies would make for a very fancy Friday treat or in my case a very decadent breakfast of champions. It transported me to France, if only for a few bites. Honestly, the colors… and those little chouquettes. Magnifique! 

If there ever is a next time I’d be tempted to get the raspberry one again and try something chocolatey. Chocolate is always rich in flavor. 

Image

xx

Maître Choux
15 Harrington Rd, London SW7 3ES

Gelupo, Soho, London.

Oh, such heat we’re having and I fear it’s only starting. 

I’m definitely more of a winter woman, but summer has its perks… one being iced coffee and the other is, of course ice cream.

I hate to say it Glasgow, but you’re definitely lacking with the proper in-house made ice cream choices. There’s a few Italian-inspired locations, but there is nothing like Gelupo.

IMG_0887

Now, given the choice I would pick gelato over ice cream any day.

For me, it’s the fact that there’s less cream and more milk in gelato which means the flavors are often more intense, but without all the heavy dairy to cloud them. Less cream means less fat. Most gelato tends to leave eggs out as well, which is how that texture remains light. I find gelato more refreshing for this reason, especially if you get a fruit flavor.

I know that sounds a bit strange as it is churned slower than ice cream to create a more dense feel. Ice cream can often be airy, but I think the slow-churn leans itself to that ‘silky and smooth’ texture -Which thanks to razor commercials we equate with lightness. Or at least I do.

Whatever the method behind it, it’s delicious.

And I must say Gelupo is up there with some of the best (Vivoli, obviously). 

A stylish little gelateria tucked away in Soho, just across from it’s famous pal Bocca di Lupo.  

IMG_0891

Inside, the set up is adorable with shades of blue and traditional shiny canisters of gelato. It was a bit dim inside, not too crowded which made the place feel relaxed. A little bar set up with a few tables in the back, means you can stay or just sit with your gelato so you don’t make a mess on the go. 

IMG_0885

I made a mess anyway and somehow managed gelato all in my hair. One minus about gelato is that it’s stored at a lower temperature than ice cream which means it can sometimes melt quicker equating to a drippy cone. Plus, I’m clumsy.

IMG_0890

It seems like we arrived during blood orange peak and trust me it was a tempting flavor… but ultimately I went for Ricotta and Sour Cherries.

I was definitely not disappointed – it wasn’t too sweet, a really strong flavor of ricotta that was excellently balanced by some proper tart cherries. The little cherry syrup swirls though were a sweet offset. 

IMG_9384

Mr. Snacks opted for the Rhubarb Crumble, as rhubarb is his go to flavor. He absolutely loved it. I think maybe the rhubarb could have been a bit more prominent, but the base was soft and had a light vanilla flavor. I liked the crunchy crumble topping, more please.

IMG_0888

We vowed to go again. I really wanted to try the Pistachio and Tiramisu… but it wasn’t meant to be. I definitely vow to go back anytime I’m in London, which probably won’t be for a while… so I’ll just suggest you go instead.

Adorable set up, great gelato, friendly service… coffee and loads of other little frozen treats and bakes. 

All this talk about gelato being better than ice cream feels a little like a betrayal. I’m going to get the Ben and Jerry’s out to feel less guilty.

Cookie Dough I love you, but Gelupo I long for you.

Love. 

xx

Gelupo

7 Archer St, London W1D 7AU, United Kingdom